The Essentials

What is Trap Music?

What is Trap Music?

Kostya V.

August 12th, 2014


Trap music swag

Developed in the 2000s from Southern hip hop, trap music is defined by aggressive lyrical content and sound. To be defined as trap music sub-bass kick drums, triple and double time divisions, pitched down low vocals or slurring of words as well as cinematic stings and layered synthesizers are used. Synthesizers are very important in trap music. They are almost the mainstay of this music type and are listed as electronic musical instruments that generate waveforms converted though speakers. Synthesizers are used on keyboards and guitars.

Trap music leaves the listener feeling dark and harsh. Lyrics are themed around street life, violence, poverty and the hardship of being trapped in a set society. Listen closely, if you can, to the lyrics that include drug dealing, partying, jail time, crimes, weapons, social issues, family and friends, plus personal emotions. Rebellion, resentment, profanity and racism are also topics ramped in trap music.

The basic idea: the singers and listeners are “trapped” in their social standings.

Trap Music DJ
Originally “trap” was used to refer to places where drug deals were made. Rappers whose primary lyrics were about drug dealings were known as “Trap rappers.” In 2003 trap music became a genre after the success of several albums and singles released in rapid succession. T.I’s studio album Trap Muzik became a commercial success and started off the trap music trend. 2005 saw another wave of trap music with the release of Young Jeezys’ Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101.

Trap music is characterized by 808s or the sound of bass from stereos, the pan flute, snares and syrup-slurred vowels. This music found its heart in Atlanta and rapper Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy bonded with Boyz n da Hood. Trap music took off even bigger than previous releases.


2010 the next wave of trap records were released to the mainstream hip-hop audience. Lex Luger jumped out of obscurity and began to produce over 200 songs that were “sung” by Kanye West, Jay-A’s H.A. and Waka Flocka Flame’s Hard in da Paint. Luger’s trap music uses hard-hitting 808s, snare, synth key, and brass, strings, keyboards and woodwinds play in an almost unrecognizable violent cacophony.

By 2012 trap music has taken over mainstream hip-hop charts with rappers turning out solid gold Billboard Hot 100 singles. Lady Gaga, an American pop singer, records trap inspired songs. Listen to Jewels n‘Drugs that feature rappers Too Short, T.,I. and Twist. Mixed reviews have come of critics asking, “Is this really music?”

In 2013 videos of electronic trap music have it the internet and gone viral. Trap producer Baauer’s “song” Harlem Shake” became the first trap song to hit the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The Ultra Music Festival of 20123 invited Carnage, OZ, DJ Craze, Baauer and Flosstradamus. Is trap music now legitimate? It definitely has become highly addictive. Hip- beats and scary lyrics are not music genres of the past. Hip-hop has been dominated by trap music in recent years which goes to prove that deep, dark beats and scary lyrics are music of the future.